As Benjamin had said, Mary’s story was a delight. I enjoyed the way she was unashamed to be a woman and told her story in the same way she would hold a conversation. Once again Jesus’ universal love for all of us shone through. And the love she shared with Cleopas, one for the other, made me long to find someone I could love like that. They were more than husband and wife; they were companions, partners, sharing life together. One day, perhaps I would find someone like that for myself.
In the meantime I had work to do. For some reason Benjamin’s comments and this story made me realise that I needed to dedicate my work to Jesus. I was no longer going to practice medicine to become rich, or even to help people in my own strength. I was going to be working as a doctor for Jesus – a modern day healer. I knew that it was his work to do the actual healing, and I would be a far better doctor if I asked him to help me. Once again slipping to my knees I handed over all that I would do as a doctor throughout my life. I did not want to work alone. I wanted to have Jesus’ compassion as I dealt with the frightened, hurting people who would come to me. I wanted the wisdom that Jesus alone could give as I listened to their symptoms and their stories. I wanted the healing touch that he had given to Asa as he performed one miracle after another and healed those who came to him.
In that moment I gave it all to him – every aspect of my future career. As I did so, I marvelled at how far I had come. From not wanting any change in my life, here I was giving my whole life’s work to Jesus, willing to use it in whatever way he wanted. I was no longer my own person but his, to serve his people and restore health to them wherever I could; and to offer comfort where health, as we desire it in this world, was not to be.
Could I do that? Could I remain loyal to my prayer of dedication on that day? Wondering at my daring, yet full of a quiet peace and joy, I picked up the scrolls and read Benjamin’s note and the next story.
What a day that must have been in Jerusalem! What a party they must have had! Yet there was still fear, for Jesus did not stay with them for long and his followers were very vulnerable. The authorities must have been on the watch for them, and they would have been in fear of their lives. Not everybody accepted Jesus and many were antagonistic towards him especially as the rumours of his appearance grew stronger.
I realised, as I read Isaac’s story that the Passover meal which is so familiar to me, became the meal that we as Christ-followers share in the Eucharist. A few weeks ago I contacted the local church and have had several visits from the minister who has explained the parallels between my Jewish background and my Christian faith. It has been a joy to discover how much Jesus completes the faith that has been dear to me all my life. The significance of that meal has always been very special, but now, understanding that the Passover lamb is the Son of God himself, sacrificed for us once and for all, it surpasses anything I imagined. As I share in that meal today it is one of the most amazing, poignant events I have ever experienced. I am grateful to God that I have had the opportunity to discover the full meaning for myself.
I wonder what it was like in that upper room during those weeks before the Spirit of God came. I suspect my mother could have told me, having experienced such fear before we were smuggled out of our homeland and came to England…
How very often we are afraid; and what a difference the Holy Spirit makes! Even in my limited capacity for life now I know the power of the Holy Spirit. He has given me the strength and the will to finish the work. He has filled my prayers with new life; and he gives me courage to face daily whatever the day may hold.
My boy, I do not fear death any longer. I am at peace. As you read Isaac’s story I pray that the Holy Spirit may empower, guide, strengthen and equip you, giving you his wisdom and love for your patients and for all those who cross your path; for I do believe that this is God’s call on your life and that you will make a kind and skilled doctor. May the Holy Spirit enable you to grow the kingdom of heaven in the way God has planned for you to do – in the way only you can do – for this is your purpose.